The Malaysian government announced that it will be allocating RM15 million (over US$3.6 million) of the country’s national budget towards the development of the local esports industry in 2021.
This will be the third-straight year that the Malaysian government has allocated a dedicated budget for the country’s esports industry, with the practice starting in 2019 with an initial RM10 million (over US$2.4 million) allocation.
However, the newly-announced esports budget for next year will see a significant reduction from this year’s allocation of RM20 million (over US$4.8 million).
Malaysia’s Finance Minister, Tengku Zafrul Tengku Aziz, revealed the budget allocation for esports was part of a greater RM55 million (over US$13.3 million) allocation towards the development of the country’s sports scene, including female athletes as well as other less prominent sports, such as hockey, rugby, badminton, and cycling.
While the cause for the reduction of Malaysia’s esports budget next year remains unclear, it is known that the funds will be the responsibility of the country’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, as it has been for the last two years.
Malaysia is one of the most active countries in Southeast Asia when it comes to esports, with popular titles in the country including Dota 2, League of Legends, and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (ML:BB).
In esports’ debut as a medal event in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, Malaysia was able to bag two medals: a gold medal in Hearthstone and ML:BB.
Watch: Malaysian SEA Games Gold medallist for esports talks about his students
Meanwhile, the top three highest earners in terms of prize money from Malaysia, according to esportsearnings.com, all play Dota 2 professionally.
All three, namely Yap “xNova” Jian Wei, Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng, and Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, have won over US$1 million over the course of their careers.